I was at Game 5 of the Interior Division Finals between the Vipers & Vees as Penticton defeated Vernon3-2 in overtime in front of 3,563 fans at the South Okanagan Events Centre.
Vernon: Darion Hanson
Penticton: Matthew Robson
1st Period: Both teams looked a little tentative off the opening faceoff, waiting for the other team to make the first mistake. It would be the Interior Division regular season champion Vees who took control of the puck & play early. But it was fan favorite Riley Brandt who would get the games first opportunity, Brandt leaned into a shot from the circle forced Matthew Robson into flashing the leather, just getting a piece of Brandt's shot as the puck grazed Robson's glove going up and over the net three and a half minutes in. The Snakes would get the games first powerplay and capitalize early into the man advantage. Cameron Trott's shot from the point beat Matthew Robson with bodies in front, giving Vernon a 1-0 lead at 6:34 on the Vipers third shot of the game. Jimmy Lambert & Chris Jandric collected the assists. Less then a minute later the Vees would get their first powerplay of the evening. Just thirty three seconds into the man advantage, Gabe Bast stepped into one from the high slot beat wich looked like a screened Darion Hanson tying the game at 7:51 Chris Klack and Nicholas Jones picked up the helpers. With eight minutes left Brett Stapley would get stoned from the slot after Matthew Robson kicked out the left pad. Two and a half minutes later Taylor Sanheim tried beating his defender one on one was able to get the puck to the front of the net, Darion Hanson made the save while the rebound laid loose in the blue paint, with several Vipers going to the net, and the puck still loose everyone jammed the front of the goal before Hanson smothered the puck on a big goal mouth scramble. The Vees come very close to taking the lead. A minute later Gabe Bast's shot from the blueline forced Darion Hanson into making a big stop. A minute later Michael Ufberg's point shot got through traffic but was denied by the quick glove save off Matthew Robson. With a minute and a half remaining Jesse Lansdell from behind the goal setup captain Riley Brandt alone in the slot, was robbed by Matthew Robson who closed the five hole, coming up with the late save to keep this game tied. It was 1-1 after 20 minutes of play. I thought both teams went back and fourth for a lot of the 1st with no one team getting a ton of pressure in the offensive zone. The Vees had a slight edge in play at times and got more pucks to the net. Both clubs had some good chances, the Snakes had troubles getting pucks to the net. I counted at least two Vernon shots that weren't recorded on the shot clock. Not a lot of physical play in that opening period. Penticton outshot Vernon 9-5.
2nd Period: The Vees get possession of the puck off the opening draw, get the play in deep before Jared Nash finds Taylor Sanheim in the slot, who was stopped by Vipers starting goaltender Darion Hanson who couldn't control/handle the rebound looks to knock the puck into his own goal with his stick giving Penticton a 2-1 lead at 0:13 Nash with the lone assist. Jesse Lansdell's shot would get stopped by Vees starting goaltender Matthew Robson before Vernon product Jagger Williamson puts home the loose puck lying in the crease, tying the game 2-2 at 4:48 Lansdell with the helper. No chance for Robson who had a Viper & Vees defender at the top of the crease, before Williamson jumped on the loose puck. Just over a minute later Penticton would get their second powerplay of the contest. Captain Nicholas Jones alone in the slot was robbed by the quick pad save of Darion Hanson. The Vees with some good looks would take a penalty of their own in the dying seconds of the powerplay, sending both teams to four on four before the Vipers would get a shot with the man advantage. Four on four Steven Jandric couldn't solve Matthew Robson. Vernon couldn't capitalize as the Vees would kill off the minor. Just past the halfway mark Penticton would jump back on the powerplay. While on the man advantage Connor Clouston is lying on top of a a Vees forward in the offensive zone, with no call on the play, the fans at the SOEC let the referee's know they missed a penalty. Clouston who lost his emotions started a scrum in front of Darion Hanson before everyone jumped in. Lots of pushing and shoving. Clouston takes an elbow to the face before throwing two or three punches at the back of a Vees player's head. Clouston comes very close to hitting one of the linesmen trying to break up the melay. Clouston would get sent to the box as the Vipers argue sending the Vees to a lengthy two man advantage. But a strong Vernon penalty kill and some big stops by Darion Hanson and the Snakes excape, killing off both minors. Shortly after Riley Brandt gets in the face of a Penticton player, egging him on as the Vipers begin to lose their cool on the following few shifts. The Vipers would get a late powerplay in the final minutes. But shorthanded Nicholas Jones setsup Joseph Leahy on a Penticton two on one before Darion Hanson sprawls across the crease to make a huge game saving save, keeping this game tied. The Vees with a big penalty kill, showed lots of pressure on the attack-forecheck would kill off the minor. It was 2-2 after 40 minutes of play. I thought Penticton was the better team in the middle frame. The Vees needed just thirteen seconds to get their first lead of the night, carried a lot of the puck & play. Penticton with several good looks, were just missing the net on some nice passing plays. The Vees speed was giving Vernon's defence trouble. Penticton with a few odd man rushes. The Snakes had troubles getting the offence going, were limited to their chances. Vernon saw a lot of the action in their own end, were chasing the puck often in that period. The Vees must have been getting under the skin of the Vernon players, as the Snakes lost their cool/emotions at times, getting suckered into the after the whistle activities. The Vipers were lucky, getting away with several mugging plays-penalties. Penticton outshot Vernon 14-9.
3rd Period: Off the opening faceoff Jagger Williamson setup Jimmy Lambert on an odd man rush, but Lambert was denied by Matthew Robson. On the following shift-less then a minute later Brett Stapley setup Jimmy Lambert going hard to the net, just fired wide as Vernon with back to back opportunities to open the final frame. Penticton would get an early powerplay to start the 3rd after Jimmy Lambert crashed the crease, sending Matthew Robson to the ice. Robson and a Vees defender both took a few punches at Lambert while he was on the ice. Lambert would get sent to the box for the Vees powerplay. The Vipers with a big kill would kill off the penalty. At the midway mark Griffin Mendel walked in from the slot before being stoned by Darion Hanson who come up with a large save, was out to challenge making the big stop. Less then two minutes later the Vipers would get a shot with the man advantage. Cameron Trott's shot from the point was kicked out by Matthew Robson before Owen Sillinger raced for the loose puck before Jimmy Lambert come back defensively to make a huge defensive play to stop Sillinger from going in on the shorthanded breakaway. The Snakes had several quality chances on the powerplay but also gave up several odd man rushes back the other way. Darion Hanson was forced to race out towards the blueline to dive and swat at the loose puck with Owen Sillinger trying to make a play shorthanded. The Viper defence just a little too loose on the powerplay. Both teams get lucky, not to give up a goal as both clubs with several opportunities. Inside the final seven minutes Vernon gets some sustained pressure, getting several grade a chances but couldn't solve Matthew Robson who was large in the final twenty minutes. Robson made several big stops off Michael Ufberg, Brett Stapley, Steven Jandric and Jimmy Lambert. It was tied 2-2 after 60 minutes of play. I thought the Vipers had more opportunities, looked a little sloppy at times on the powerplay, as Penticton with two or three chances shorthanded, as things got a little crazy. The Snakes really turned it up in the second half, had several grade a chances in the final five-seven minutes couldn't capitalize on their opportunities-solve Matthew Robson. The Vees saw more time in their own end, held off the Viper attack late to force overtime. Vernon outshot Penticton 12-7.
Overtime: Inside the opening minute the puck goes off a Viper defender goes to the front of the net, where several players wack away at the loose puck on a goal mouth scramble not even a minute into the extra frame. The Vees with several good looks early, were just missing the net on some close plays. The Viper defence hustled back to make a big defensive play on Ty Amonte who tried sneaking in behind the Viper defence for the breakaway six minutes into overtime. Shortly after Turner Ripplinger was stoned from the slot after a quick release low along the ice was kicked out by Darion Hanson. Shortly after Nicholas Jones wins the draw in the Viper zone, goes to the front of the net, while James Miller's shot from the blueline would get redirected in front by Jones giving Penticton a 3-2 overtime victory at 8:40 Miller & Griffin Mendel collected the assists as Jones sends the South Okanagan Events Centre into a frenzy. The Vees bench erupts jumping onto the ice. Penticton controlled most of the overtime, had several good looks-opportunities, were coming on strong. The Vipers didn't have control of the puck-get any real sustained pressure, were chasing the Vees. Matthew Robson didn't see much rubber in OT but looked pretty casual kicking away a few Vernon shots from well out. Penticton outshot Vernon 6-2.
Top Player's: (Vernon)
Jagger Williamson (1 goal) I thought played-battled hard all night. Was a force along the boards and in front of the net.
Steven Jandric I thought showed a lot of hustle-determination. Played hard, competed, was really skating, going to the net-fighting for the puck battles.
Chris Jandric I thought also played very well on the blueline. Made some smart heads up plays through out the loss.
Darion Hanson (33 saves) Was forced into making several big stops through out the night, giving his team a chance to win. Hanson made some of his bigger saves in the 2nd and 3rd periods.
Game Thought's: (Vernon)
I thought the Vipers played very well in the 1st and 3rd periods. I thought the Snakes played well-held their own in that opening frame, had some good looks-opportunities, had troubles getting pucks to the net. It was the 2nd period where Vernon had troubles generating offence, getting any kind of sustained pressure. Played a lot of the middle frame in their own end, got some strong goaltending from Darion Hanson. Other then almost giving up the game winner shorthanded in the 3rd I thought Vernon had some very solid opportunities, couldn't solve Matthew Robson. The Vipers with a very good second half, couldn't bury-capitalize on their chances. In the 3rd and overtime the Vipers looked to be chasing the Vees often. Vernon struggled offensively in overtime, couldn't hold off Penticton's speed and skill. I thought Penticton gave Vernon's defence trouble with their speed and a strong forecheck. The Snakes had troubles at times holding off the Vees forecheck-attack at times. After playing most of the previous four games physical, I didn't think the Vipers played as physical as in the previous games in this series. The Snakes seemed to lose their cool-emotions in the 2nd period, got away with several penalties. The Vipers need to get more traffic in front of Matthew Robson-get more pucks to the net. Overall I thought Vernon battled hard-emptied the tank but come up on the short end of the stick. This game could have easily gone either way. A heart breaking loss, The Vipers now will need to win Game 6 at home if they want to keep their season going.
Top Player's: (Penticton)
Gabe Bast (1 goal) I thought was one of if not the Vees best player. The defenceman was all over the ice, moving the puck, getting pucks to the net, is a smooth skater, really reads-sees the ice well. Makes that first quick pass, makes things happen in a hurry.
Nicholas Jones (1 goal & 1 assist) The captain plays hero in overtime tipping hom Gabe Bast's shot from the point. I thought the Vees forward battled hard, went to the hard nosed area's and competed. Took a pounding on some shifts, kept battling.
Chris Klack (1 assist) Looked good at times through out the contest. Can also make things happen, goes to the net, seems to be in and around the goal, looking for his opportunities.
James Miller (1 assist) I thought played fairly well on the backend.
Owen Sillinger Had some wild opportunities shorthanded in the 3rd, really skated-battled hard.
Taylor Sanheim (1 goal) I thought looked good at times, was dangerous with the puck, was hard to contain-slow down.
Matthew Robson (26 saves) Made his biggest saves in the 3rd, especially in the second half of the third period. Was seeing everything, looked-played confident. Also got some help from his defence.
Game Thought's: (Penticton)
The Vees looked to have a slight edge in play-control of the puck at different times in the game. I thought Penticton took it to Vernon for a lot of the 2nd frame, had several good looks, were either just missing the goal or couldn't solve Darion Hanson. The Vees looked very dangerous shorthanded in the 3rd, were starting to use their speed and skill and give the Snakes defence troubles. I thought as the game went on Penticton looked to look a little more hungrier, the Vees also looked a little quicker at times and as the game went along. I thought Penticton limited the Vipers chances at times through out the night, didn't give Vernon much to shoot at. The Vees looked to get under the skin of the Vipers, especially in that middle frame. Give Penticton credit for not engaging in the after the whistle activities often. The Vees seemed to pick it up a notch in overtime and were the better team in OT. A huge win on home ice for the Vees, who are now just one win away from clinching the Interior Division Championship and moving onto the League Finals. Tonight's game was huge for either team. Overall this was one heck of a hockey game, both teams battled-gave It their all. Goaltending was strong at both ends. Lots og quality chances at both ends of the rink. A very nerve racking game at times. A very exciting-entertaining game. What an atmosphere at the South Okanagan Events Centre, just over 3500 people show up for Game 5. Incredible! You could feel the vibe-atmosphere outside the SOEC before the game even started. With over 3,500 fans in attendance tonight, the Vees broke their previous attendance record of 93,000 fans in one season (2011-12) getting over 100,000 fans this season (106,021). That's amazing!
Energy Player of the Game:
Jared Nash (1 assist)
1st Star: Nicholas Jones (1 goal & 1 assist)
2nd Star: Matthew Robson (26 saves)
3rd Star: Darion Hanson (33 saves)
Fraser Rodger's Penticton Vees Blog,
Text Box Score,